James Laughlin
BornMarch 1, 1806
County Down, Ireland
DiedDecember 18, 1882 (1882-12-19) (aged 76)
Known forJones and Laughlin Steel
Ann Irwin
(m. 1837; died 1882)
ChildrenHenry Alexander Laughlin
Irwin Boyle Laughlin
George McCully Laughlin
Eliza Irwin Phillips
James Laughlin
Parent(s)James Laughlin
Eliza Boyd
RelativesIrwin B. Laughlin (grandson)
Duncan Phillips (grandson)
James Laughlin IV (great-grandson)

James H. Laughlin (March 1, 1806 – December 18, 1882) was an Irish-American banker and capitalist, a pioneer of the iron and steel industry in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Early life

He was born near Portaferry in County Down, Ireland, the son of Jane (née Boyd) Laughlin (1763–1814) and James Laughlin, Sr. (1748–1831).[1] Among his siblings was brother Alexander Laughlin, whose son, Alexander J. Laughlin married Mary Franklin Jones (a daughter of his business partner Benjamin Franklin Jones).[2]

He was educated at Belfast, and after leaving school he assisted his father in taking care of his estate until age twenty, when his mother died in 1814 and the family came to America. Upon his arrival he entered into partnership with his brother Alexander.[2]


In 1854, Laughlin bought the retiring Bernard Lauth's interest in the steel partnership with Benjamin Franklin Jones.[3] The company was renamed Jones and Laughlin in 1861, later reorganized as J&L Steel.[4][5]

In 1844, Laughlin was appointed as a corporator to the board responsible for establishing the Allegheny Cemetery.[6] In 1852, Laughlin and his associates, including B.F. Jones, founded a banking organization that, when chartered, was the First National Bank of Pittsburgh,[3][7] later Pittsburgh National Bank.[8]

Laughlin was the first president of the Western Theological Seminary in Pittsburgh.

He was a founder of the Pennsylvania Female College,[3] which later became Chatham University.

Personal life

In 1837, Laughlin was married to Ann McCully Irwin (1813–1891), a daughter of Boyle Irwin and Eliza (née McCully) Irwin.[9] Together, they were the parents of:

Laughlin died on December 18, 1882.[3]


  1. ^ Boucher, John Newton (1908). A century and a half of Pittsburg and her people. Lewis Pub. Co. pp. 213. James Laughlin County Down. |OCLC=13928977
  2. ^ a b Boucher, John Newton; Jordan, John W. (1908). A Century and a Half of Pittsburg and Her People. New York: The Lewis Publishing Company. pp. 214–215.
  3. ^ a b c d Thurston, George H. (1888). Allegheny county's hundred years. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh, Digital Research Library. pp. 258–260.
  4. ^ "Family's Fourth". Time. No. April 13. 13 April 1936. Archived from the original on 25 October 2012. Retrieved 9 August 2008.
  5. ^ "Jones-Laughlin Steel to be Reorganized" (PDF). The New York Times (Aug. 6). 1922. Retrieved 9 August 2008.
  6. ^ Allegheny Cemetery, Pittsburgh, Pa (1910). The Allegheny cemetery, Pittsburgh, Pa: its origin and early history, also a report of its condition, progress and business during the last ten years, June 1, 1900-May 31, 1910. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh, Digital Research Library. p. 13.((cite book)): CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  7. ^ White, Edward (1903). A century of banking in Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh, Pa: University of Pittsburgh, Digital Research Library. p. 19.
  8. ^ "Corporate History". PNC Legacy Project. PNC Financial Services. Retrieved 4 November 2013.
  9. ^ a b Revolution, Daughters of the American (1898). Lineage Book of the Charter Members of the Daughters of the American Revolution. Daughters of the American Revolution. p. 9. Retrieved 5 May 2023.
  10. ^ Jordan, John Woolf (2004). Colonial And Revolutionary Families Of Pennsylvania. Genealogical Publishing Com. p. 834. ISBN 978-0-8063-5239-8. Retrieved 5 May 2023.
  11. ^ Cutter, William Richard (1926). American Biography: A New Cyclopedia. Pub. under the direction of the American Historical Society. p. 17. Retrieved 5 May 2023.
  12. ^ A century and a half of Pittsburg and her people, Volume 4. Lewis Publishing Company. 1908. pp. 216–7.
  13. ^ Jordan, John W. (1978). Colonial and Revolutionary Families of Pennsylvania. Genealogical Publishing Com. pp. 834–7. ISBN 9780806352398.
  14. ^ MacNiven, Ian S. (18 November 2014). "Literchoor Is My Beat": A Life of James Laughlin, Publisher of New Directions. Macmillan. p. 16. ISBN 978-0-374-29939-2. Retrieved 5 May 2023.
  15. ^ The Family Book of Bakewell, Page, Campbell: Being Some Account of the Descendants of John Bakewell, of Castle Donington, Leicestershire, England, Born in 1638. Benjamin Page, Born in 1765, at Norwich, England. William Campbell, Born July 1, 1766, at Mauchline, Ayrshire, Scotland. John Harding, of Leicester. Wm. G. Johnston & Company, Printers and Stationers. 1896. pp. 77–78. Retrieved 5 May 2023.